It's struck me a number of times this summer. This impression that I really want to do something big and great and wonderful (and, of course, noticeable) for the Lord.
I feel burdened for the homeless and impulsively toss cash to the veteran with the cardboard sign on the street corner. I've never done that before and wonder if it was a bad idea. I smile and say, "God bless you" and hope it makes a little difference. But I don't know.
I hear about the thousands of children in foster care in our one small corner of the country alone and I think, "We should adopt!" I search websites and my enthusiasm waxes and wanes and I don't know. Is this where God is leading us?
As I grasp at the big, the Lord reminds me of the small. Because it's not small to Him.
David wanted to do great things for the Lord. And indeed he did. But he also received a very specific message from the Lord: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. (1 Chron. 17:4)
There are times when my vision is clouded by grand things and I fail to see that which is to be done in my very own home. While I'm praying about foster children, my own child is having a particularly rough week. I can't forget my ministry here. How can I begin to minister to others when I don't even know how to reach my own?
Again I look to the authority of Scripture. I'm thankful for David's example as recorded in 1 Chronicles. One of the things I notice is that, although there are many repeated stories that correlate with events in 2 Samuel, we don't revisit his glaringly obvious sin with Bathsheba. It's as though the Lord is reminding us that He's forgiven and forgotten . . . even this.
Which means he does the same with me.
He forgives when I'm blinded by grandeur and miss the needs right under my own nose. He forgives when I choose my own comfort above the little one clamoring for my attention. He forgives when I busily type away at the keyboard as though a deadline is so much more important than the child who wants to show me his new magic trick.
And He reminds me how to turn it all around. Again I look at David's life and see the events that lead up to and follow the return of the ark of the Lord. He's done this great thing (with an important caveat, "If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God . . ." 1 Chron. 13:2).
Once the ark is safely placed in the tent, David presents "burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God." He then proceeds to deliver a psalm of thanksgiving to the Lord before the people: "Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name . . . worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness . . . that we may glory in your praise . . ." (1 Chron. 16:8-36).
But here's the part that jumps out at me, bright as day. Once he had accomplished this, "David returned home to bless his family." (I Chron. 16:43)
Did you catch that? David is in a position to bless his family when his posture has been one of sacrifice and thanksgiving.
It's the same for me. The Lord may still be nudging my heart toward the homeless or the fatherless, and yes, I will keep listening and waiting. I want to be ready. But in the mean time, there's no wasted time. I am to put myself in this same posture of sacrifice and thanksgiving that I may bless my family.
When I am in this position, I can hear so much more clearly "what is good and what the Lord requires of me" (Micah 6:8). I place myself in His will, even if it means that I'm quietly tucked away in my own home, still in my bathrobe, making yet another bowl of oatmeal for a glaring urchin. Because here is an opportunity to bless my child.
The wonderful thing about God's plan is that it's for our good and for His glory. When He told David that he wouldn't be the one to build the Lord's house, He didn't leave it at that. He promised David amazing things: "I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you . . . I will raise up your offspring . . . his throne will be established forever." (1 Chron. 17:14)
I want the Lord to build my house. I want the Lord to bless my husband and my children. And I want to be a blessing to them that we may glory in His praise. It may not look grand and glorious from the outside, but that means that I've forgotten.
Seven and a half years ago I was surprised to hear that our fourth child was on the way. I wasn't prepared and the sensation overwhelmed me. Four? That was bordering on the Lots of Kids category. I wasn't cut out for it. But the Lord told me otherwise. Actually, he showed me.
One evening, as I sorted through my conflicting emotions and alternately frowned and beamed over my swelling abdomen, the Lord intervened. My eyes closed and I saw my child. She was nestled safely in the Lord's arms. He was robed in light and His arms warmly extended toward me, giving the child to my keeping. My entire being filled with peace and gratitude and I knew for certain that I was being given an extremely precious gift. A gift from His own hands.
My entire household is such a gift. I sometimes forget that. But when I remember the truth, when I receive this role from His own hands, I know that I'm exactly where He wants me to be. Which is pretty grand and glorious, after all.